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Professional golfer Phil Mickelson forwent his chance to win the 117th US Open Championship because of family.
Mickelson’s daughter Amanda was scheduled to graduate from Pacific Ridge School on June 15. This was the same day as the first round of the tournament. Mickelson could have been the sixth golfer to win all four major championships, but he decided against it so he could witness his daughter’s milestone.
Derek Deminsky, member of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and director of instruction at Forty-Niner Country Club, reacted to the news by starting an online petition for Pacific Ridge School. He urged the school to change the graduation ceremony date for the sake of Phil Mickelson and golf fans. Despite this, a report stated that the school would not move the graduation ceremony to another date.
Reports about athletes withdrawing from games due to family are not unusual. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, several athletes requested to be removed from the roster because of fear of the Zika virus, which is known to cause pregnancy problems and birth defects. Athletes, like American cyclist Tejay van Garderen, stated that they could not afford to put their wives’ health at risk.
Other athletes have also had family-related reasons for pulling out from their athletic career. Swedish Golfer Annika Sorenstam retired in her prime because of plans to start a family. Basketball legend Michael Jordan quit the sport to play baseball instead. According to him, he wanted to grant his deceased father’s wish to see him play in Major League Baseball.